Fort Collins: A Crafty City
If you know an IBU from ABV, you will fit in nicely here in Fort Collins, Colorado. You can barely throw a stone without hitting a craft brewery and a typical outing consists of biking to a craft brewery, sampling a flight of beer or grabbing a quick meal to be washed down with your favorite IPA or Hefeweizen.
In the past month, we have been making a weekly trek to a different brewery. In case you are ever in our nape of the woods, here is a lowdown on some of our favorites. And if you are still confused between an IBU and a ABV, hang tight.
Fort Collins Brewery
This is one of favorites, it has a nice restaurant called Gravity, where you can munch on a burger or a southern fried chicken meal. Their southern fried chicken tastes nothing like what you would get in Georgia, but I think it is better. It is lightly fried in beer batter giving it a sweet yet crispy taste – yummy!
I really like the way the bar is next to the eating area, surrounded by an open-air view of the brewing process.
Here’s how I ordered: I was considering Greener Pastures but I’ll settle for the Voluptuous Blond. Good choice – they happened to be out of the Greener Pastures. Is the grass really ever any greener?
Alright, I promised I would clue in you on ABV (you might notice that abbreviation next to each beer above). ABV stands for Alcohol by Volume, so the higher the number, the more critical it is to have a DD (designated driver).
New Belgium Brewery
If you’ve ever had a Fat Tire, you’ve tasted a brew from New Belgium. They probably have the best beer tour in Fort Collins and their funky-yet-groovy vibe is very Coloradoish. The tour guides are passionate about beer and to get a job here requires being on a waiting list for a year or more. My favorite beer was the Snapshot Wheat, you are probably starting to guess that I like Wheat, Hefeweizen and Pilsners. They tend to have a low IBU. What? IBU? It stands for International Bitter Unit. The larger the number, the more bitter it tastes.
Odell has a cool tasting room, where you can sit by a fire pit and listen to a local band. You can also schedule a tour to see the magic of the brew. My favorite beer here is the Easy Street Wheat, it has a really smooth texture and goes down easy.
Black Bottle Brewery
This brewery feels more like a local pub than an actual brewery. It is housed in a store front and you won’t see any brew kettles or pipes — just a bar sporting their beer (maybe the kettles are located out of view). We went on a weekday around 2 p.m. and they had a special going until 3 p.m. that included one of their craft beers, 2 sliders, and fries for just $8.00. Not bad, and the brew was good too. And their black bottles are too cool looking.
The vibe is definitely hipsteresque. When you go to the door, a sign greets you with “Hippies must take the back entry” and “Sorry, we are open”. In fact, one of their brews is aptly named Hipster. But my favorite named beer is “Bitches Get Stitches” — too funny!.
This small brewery has also has a Hipster vibe. As you walk in, you might hear bluegrass music playing, bringing back memories of “Brother Where Art Thou”. I like that the brewery is very cyclist friendly, notice all of the bike racks on the left side of the building. My kind of place.
We ordered a flight of ales that did not disappoint.
Equinox has a beer garden in the back, adding another level of coolness to this place.
Speaking of IBU — check out the Super Collider. It has an IBU of 185. Wow, that’s high! Wheat beers normally have an IBU of about 25 – 40. Once I saw that I had to taste it and it lived up to that rating – very bitter!
When we got to Coopersmith, we were seated at a small table by the window. With tons of available seating, we asked if we could be moved to a booth. The hostess copped a bit of an attitude and we almost walked out. But the waitress came over and she was really good. We ordered wings and beer bread and washed it down with a Hefeweizen — peace and harmony were quickly restored.
Never Enough Time
We still have more breweries to visit – including C.B. & Potts (the original one was founded here in Fort Collins), Funkwerks, and Pateros Creek Brewery. We will keep you updated on those. It would also be cool to visit the Anheuser-Busch location — it is home to the training grounds for the Clydesdale horses.
I would would also like to give a shout out to Grayton Beer Company — they are a local brewery in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. They had their grand opening just before we came to Colorado and it was fantastic. They had free beer all day, tours of the brewery, a band duo, food, and just an incredible outing. And their Beach Blond is silky smooth.